Dr Larisa Corda is an obstetrician and gynaecologist and one of the UK’s leading Fertility Specialists. She qualified at Imperial College London and is now ITV This Morning’s and Channel Mum’s Fertility Expert.
Larisa believes in a holistic approach to treating a patient that addresses many lifestyle factors as well as a combination of Eastern and Western medical approaches. She believes in using innovative natural and mild IVF techniques to assist conception where needed.
Larisa’s research topics include the effect of stress on reproductive outcomes, older age motherhood, as well as the current global injustice of inequity of access to reproductive care. She has recently launched her own website www.drlarisacorda.com which offers guidance and support for all those wanting a natural empowering lifestyle approach to their fertility.
She has also devised a unique programme for fertility and pregnancy called The Conception Plan which is currently featuring on This Morning and provides a comprehensive natural method towards getting pregnant and thereafter, for both men and women. It can also be used to help all those who also need medical treatment. The plan encompasses several major pillars of wellbeing that range from nutrition, fitness, stress relief and toxin free clean living. Most importantly of all, it focuses on healing not just the body but mind and spirit too, giving the power back to the patient to control their own destiny.
Here are her top tips for naturally boosting your fertility, which also form the foundation of The Conception Plan:
- Eat well and focus on eating organically and seasonally as this way you’ll know the produce is far less likely to have been influenced by hormones, pesticides, added preservatives, chemicals and additives. Have a majority plant based diet and get strict about what you’re putting inside of yourself as it literally influences not just your health, but the health of your baby through the process of epigenetics. Which means what you put into your body is already having an impact on another human’s health and wellbeing!
- You absolutely need to stop smoking (even e-cigarettes, though the evidence for this is not yet uncovered) as this can cause damage to the lining of the womb, the eggs and sperm, but also adversely affect the health of your child, and cause all sorts of complications in your pregnancy. You also need to minimise alcohol or ideally avoid it altogether.
- Reducing stress and keeping caffeine (which is a stress activator) to a minimum or avoiding altogether is really important. Infertility can be the most stressful situation you ever face in life. Though there is not as yet proven association between stress and infertility, there is a wealth of literature to point to the problem of too much stress and activation of the sympathetic or fight or flight response, leading to raised cortisol levels and a permanent state of high alert. This can then start to create an imbalance in your fertility hormones and also lead to problems with sleep and lowered libido, which can make us resort to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as eating too much sugar, drinking alcohol, or smoking, that can all reduce the chance of getting pregnant. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, being outdoors in nature, having a bath, spending time with close friends, or a hobby can all help reduce stress, as can acupuncture, reflexology, hypnotherapy and reiki.
- Sleeping well and ensuring your bedroom becomes a sanctuary that is conducive to sleep. It’s important to get enough rest to support your physical, mental and emotional health. This means clearing out the clutter, not using any electrical devices such as TVs and mobile phones before bed time, and ensuring the room is dark enough to allow you to get the crucial 7-8 hours sleep a night that most of us need to be able to function well. Sleep not only helps to combat stress, and improve libido, but it’s vital to processing unnecessary and harmful substances in the body that are made each day, it helps with weight loss, and also boosts immunity.
- Exercise to help boost your circulation to your reproductive organs and also to help you maintain a healthy body and mind. Exercise can also help to reduce stress but too much or being over vigorous can do the opposite, so be mindful and aim for that which is realistic and achievable for you. This will also help you to keep weight within the normal range that is vital for fertility and helps to reduce the chance of miscarriage. Remember, this is your chance to create and tone your body in preparation for pregnancy. It also gives you an excuse to get out into the great outdoors and spend time soaking up the Vitamin D that helps to improve fertility in both men and women.
- Have sex often and throughout your cycle. Most people become too obsessed with the fertile window and sex can become a militaristic operation rather than a pleasure! As long as you’re having sex several times a week, there will be sperm available to fertilise the egg, as sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for several days and recent studies are suggesting that the conventional advice of abstaining for a few days in between is perhaps overcautious and that sperm quality may actually improve with more regular sex.
- Get yourself on a good multivitamin supplement a few months before you start to try but remember that this is not an alternative to a good diet. For men, a supplement rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, E, selenium, zinc and garlic can support healthy sperm. Women should look towards a vitamin supplement that delivers the required dose of folate, iodine and vitamin D and a range of other vitamins and minerals required for conception and a healthy pregnancy. Omega 3 is also important for both men and women as it influences the development of the baby’s brain and IQ.
- Be mindful of the toxic elements influencing our environment, from the water we drink, to the toxins found in cleaning products, to the make up we put on our skin, to the plastic we use to cover our food in. Whether we absorb the toxins via the gut or the skin, or in some cases inhale around the house, this can get into our blood stream and end up being harmful to our hormones that control fertility, as well as the eggs and sperm. There are so many pollutants that we cannot avoid being exposed to when we step outside, but we need to be focussing on the environment we create inside our homes, and our bodies. Always try and use products in their most natural state especially as some recent studies have also shown toxins influencing sperm DNA which can be passed on to offspring and has been linked to obesity and other health issues in the child.